Environmental Exposure Law

Benzene Exposure

Key Takeaways:

  • Benzene is a common chemical used in making plastics, shoes, resins, and synthetic fibers.
  • It can cause health risks to humans and animals through inhalation, skin exposure, eating contaminated food, or drinking contaminated water.
  • Victims may be able to take legal action against the employers, manufacturers, or distributors who exposed them to these dangerous chemicals.

Exposure to benzene in manufacturing or industrial jobs can cause long-term health effects. When people get sick with cancer, have blood disorders, or have reproductive health conditions, they may not know it was due to exposure to benzene-containing products.

If your job or workplace was responsible for long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, they should be held accountable for your injuries. A benzene exposure lawyer can help you get money for medical expenses in a personal injury case.

What Is Benzene Exposure?

Benzene is a common chemical used in making plastics, shoes, resins, and synthetic fibers. Other industrial and commercial uses include solvents, lubricants, dyes, detergents, glues, adhesives, and pesticides. At room temperature, it is a colorless or light yellow liquid that is highly flammable. Benzene can evaporate quickly into the air and float on top of water.

Despite benzene being so common, it can cause health risks to humans and animals. The body can absorb benzene through inhalation, skin exposure, eating contaminated food, or drinking contaminated water.

People can experience low levels of benzene exposure in their daily life. Benzene exposure can come from cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and pumping gas at a gas station. Benzene can also leak from hazardous waste sites or storage tanks, contaminating groundwater. People working in industrial settings can face much higher levels of benzene exposure.

Is Benzene Dangerous?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several health hazards associated with benzene exposure, including acute effects, reproductive effects, cancer risks, and noncancer risks. Some immediate symptoms of high levels of benzene exposure include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Confusion

Chronic exposure can increase the risk of cancer and noncancer effects, including:

  • Anemia
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Chromosomal aberrations
  • Immune system damage with loss of white blood cells
  • Reproductive and developmental toxicity

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, benzene is a known human carcinogen. A carcinogen is a substance that can cause different types of cancer. Studies have found a link between occupational benzene exposure and an increased risk of mortality from myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myeloid leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

What Kinds of Workers Are Exposed to Benzene?

Workers in any number of industries can be at higher risk for exposure to benzene. Long-term exposure can even cause harm to gas station workers or road construction workers exposed to vehicle emissions over long periods.

Other workers with high levels of exposure involve those in industrial or chemical jobs, like crude oil refinery workers, plastic molding companies, heavy uses of rubbers, industrial cleaning agents, sealants, or other jobs with exposure to high benzene concentrations.

Who Is Responsible for Benzene Exposure?

In a personal injury lawsuit, the parties who caused your injuries may be liable for damages. The liable party could be your employer or a chemical manufacturer. Suppose your employer was responsible for overexposure to high levels of benzene, leading to cancer or other injuries. In that case, your attorney may be able to recover damages in a personal injury claim.

In a product liability claim, you or your loved ones may be able to take legal action against the manufacturers or distributors who put these dangerous chemicals out without warning people of the potential dangers.

How Can a Lawyer Help in a Benzene Exposure Claim?

Navigating a personal injury claim can be difficult. Your employer may claim it is too late to file a claim or that workers’ compensation laws protect them from a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers know the tricks companies try to use to deny your claim. However, they also understand personal injury, toxic tort, and product liability laws to help you recover damages for your exposure claims.

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